Legislative Update

Jordan Kannianen

District 4 Senator

Friends and family of District 4,

With crossover behind us, the Senate is now busy with House bills. 

In the Senate Political Subdivisions Committee, we hear several bills each session related to Townships. As a Township Supervisor myself, I admit it’s helped me learn a lot about the intricacies of the Century Code regarding Townships. 

We passed a bill that changes the recall process of a Township officer. The process governing the elections of Township officers is entirely different than that of any other political subdivision officer. Township elections are held at the annual meetings, which are always the third Tuesday of March, and there is no pre-filing of candidates or polling/balloting like every other election has. However, the recall process for Township officers is currently lumped in with the other offices. In April 2019 a recall petition was circulated and submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office, but since Century Code dictates the meeting date of Townships for election business, nothing could be done until the following March. The bill that went to the Governor allows for a special meeting to be called to address an attempted recall in order to avoid that in a future instance. 

Another bill we’ve heard that we’ve yet to act on would allow Township residents to increase their property taxes beyond the allowable mills in the case of a disaster situation. The sponsors of the bill mainly point to areas that had a large-scale flooding of roads in the spring of 2020 without sufficient funds to handle the rebuild and repair. I see their point and challenge, and it would take a vote of the people to increase the mill levy, so I’ll support it to give them the local option. More local funds also allow Townships to access more matching dollars from higher sources. 

An update was made to the ND One-Call law (call 811 before you dig), adding the requirement for an excavator to call 911 if they cause damage to a pipeline that releases toxic/flammable liquids or gasses. This puts the state in compliance with the US DOT’s One-Call grant program that the Public Service Commission operates under. 

Have a great week!

Jordan Kannianen, District 4 Senator

701.421.8813 (cell), [email protected]